Sunday, 7 June 2015


My next post (beginning tomorrow) will be the start of a definitive series on Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
I would just like to take a moment to explain why many images of Renoir’s and other artist’s work will be omitted from this blog now and in the future.

Part of my own remit in producing this art blog, a purely educational and non-profit undertaking that takes up many hours of my time, is to show as complete a collection of an artists work as possible. Unfortunately copyright issues are now making it increasingly difficult to negotiate this endeavour. Certain very popular artist’s estates , including the copyright on all images of their works, are held in trust by the artist’s family – for this reason it would not be possible for instance to show the works of Matisse, Picasso or Magritte now or in the future on this blog. The lapse of copyright seventy years after an artist’s death ‘rule’ no longer applies in certain circumstances either:

Another issue now threatens the ability to show works held in public institutions. Museums and galleries technically not able to copyright the work, are copyrighting the photographs of the work, and demanding fees, even for educational use. Many museums still abide by free educational use, (the Rijksmuseum in Holland for example provide an excellent free download facility of hi-resolution images), but certain others, particularly in the USA do not, and consequently I am unable to include quite a lot works as a result. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for instance, have recently gone over to the fee basis. Renoir’s work held by these institutions can be seen on their individual websites, but won’t be shown here, so good luck with that.

Lists of artists work can always be found on other generic sites that ignore the new rulings, like the "Wiki" sites for instance, but personally I find that very poor colour reproduction and inadequate descriptions of size and location often don’t do the job anyway, but as the French put it “c’est la vie.”

"Sleeping Girl" by Renoir as seen on sites like Wikimedia and Wikiart and other sites, where someone thought Renoir had done a poor job with his colour palette and decided to enhance it. This is a very common practice with online sites, and a very misleading one:

Sleeping Girl as painted by Renoir:

1880 Sleeping Girl oil on canvas 120.3 x 92 cm Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA

 As seen on Wikiart:

Madame de Bonnières as painted by Renoir:

1889 Madame de Bonnières oil on canvas 117 x 89 cm Musée du Petit Palais, Paris

 As seen on Wikiart:

My extensive series on Renoir encompassing some 1800 images begins tomorrow with an introduction.

Poul Webb


  1. The whole thing is a tragedy. Certainly educational purposes should cut one a break. You are not making T shirts ! ... and the day glow colors on Wikiart are appalling.

    Thank you for all you do

  2. Thank you Ann. You're right, I'm not making T shirts or anything else; if I was I would understand that part of the profit should go to the source. Shame about the family estates though, some key artists that will never be shown, though you can always buy a book I suppose (I have)!

  3. photographs of public domain works are not copyright protected - see here

    the museums just want you to pay for hi-res files/usage fees

  4. Ok, thanks for your information, appreciated. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston have though, disabled downloading of lo-res images from their website, so one would rely on finding other sources for the images.